Summer 2020
The VMTH now has eight referral coordinators that you can reach directly, bypassing the main VMTH phone line. We also created a call center with several new representatives answering the main VMTH phone line, so your clients get quicker, more efficient services.

Please utilize these contacts for faster, more efficient connections to make your referrals. These referral coordinators have intimate knowledge of their particular services and can facilitate your needs and also connect you with a veterinarian should you need consultation on a case.
Latest News
UC Davis Cares for 1,000 Animals from Wildfires
Since August 19, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has been treating animals burned in the devastating LNU Lightning Complex Fire. Using a field-first approach, the school's Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) deployed to Solano and Sonoma Counties to care for animals at evacuation centers and those sheltering in place on ranches. They also conducted search and rescue missions throughout the fire zones. Meanwhile, the veterinary hospital has been able to concentrate on only the most critical cases.
ER and Critical Care Function with High Level Despite Massive Caseload Growth
As many local clinics are unable to provide their usual levels of care due to the COVID-19 pandemic—on top of a significant caseload growth over the past decade—the UC Davis Emergency Room is seeing more patients than ever.
VetCell Therapeutics USA Gets Approved for Clinical Trial of DentaHeal Cell Therapy for FCGS
Conducted in collaboration with researchers from UC Davis, this is the first country-wide clinical trial to evaluate the safety, efficacy and potency of VetCell Therapeutics’ feline allogeneic MSC therapy for treating feline chronic gingivostomatitis.
Current Clinical Trials
Please welcome new leadership to the Veterinary Center for Clinical Trials (VCCT). Dr. Michelle Giuffrida has been appointed director, and Dr. Jennifer Willcox has been named associate director.  
Dr. Giuffrida previously served as the associate director of the VCCT and is currently an associate professor in the Soft Tissue Surgery Service. Her research interests include epidemiologic methods and consistency of reporting, particularly of complications, in clinical studies and surgical oncology and minimally invasive procedures. As associate director, Dr. Giuffrida was instrumental in developing the center’s standard operating procedures for trials conduct and administration, and helping to coordinate a major personnel reorganization. Her initial goals as director are: 1) to expand the VCCT’s trial and investigator portfolio by taking a direct role in developing trials with sponsors and pairing them with UCD investigators and; 2) to develop an parallel internal research program focused on optimizing trial conduct and administration, to bring national recognition to the VCCT as a leader in developing and setting standards for high-quality veterinary clinical research.
Dr. Willcox joined the faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor in the Oncology Service. She completed a fellowship in bone marrow transplantation and residency training at North Carolina State University. Before joining UC Davis, Dr. Willcox conducted clinical trials at the University of Missouri. Her research interests are in improving imaging of different tumor types and associated metastatic disease such as positron emission tomography, as well as clinical trials geared toward novel therapeutic/drug development. 
Dr. Michael Kent is recruiting dogs with confirmed locally advanced or metastatic cancer who have not undergone treatment within the past 30 days. The investigational drug in this trial, EARLI-001, is designed to make cancer cells produce synthetic biomarkers which could be more easily detected than natural cancer biomarkers. Detecting natural cancer biomarkers is challenging due to the small amount of cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream. The purpose of this trial is to determine the maximum tolerated dose and assess the safety of EARLI-001. Pets eligible to participate will attend a total of five study visits over the course of approximately 15 days.
Dr. Luke Wittenburg is recruiting cats diagnosed with cancer for which vinblastine has been deemed an appropriate drug choice by the study veterinarian. Although vinblastine is commonly used in veterinary cancer therapy, most commonly for treating feline lymphoma, there is currently no information on how the drug is distributed and eliminated in these cats. This study aims to describe the pharmacokinetic profile (movement of a drug through the body) of vinblastine in cats and identify which characteristics or traits that can vary from one cat to another (e.g. age, kidney function, liver function) influence how vinblastine is distributed and eliminated in cats. The study requires several visits over the course of approximately 14 days.
Dr. Jodi Westropp is recruiting dogs with a recent history of calcium oxalate (CaOx) bladder stones. CaOx stones are one of the most common types of stones that form in dogs. The purpose of this study is to compare two dry diets marketed for CaOx prevention in dogs. Dogs eligible for the study will be required to be present at enrollment, and recheck visits at 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.
Dr. Pete Dickinson is recruiting dogs with brain tumors for a clinical trial. The trial aims to look at whether a novel treatment that alters the immune system within a brain tumor may be safe and possibly effective in shrinking the size of the tumor. To take part in this study, dogs must have a brain tumor and be healthy enough to benefit from the treatments (either experimental or standard). The dog must be healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, MRI scans, biopsy, and infusion of the brain tumor, follow up imaging and standard treatment. Standard treatment often involves radiation treatment but may include surgery and/or chemotherapy.
Upcoming Continuing Education Events
Due to developing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, including adhering to physical distancing and limiting public gatherings, the UC Davis Center for Continuing Professional Education is currently altering its course offerings to webinar only.
We look forward to welcoming you to these CE events moved online for the fall:

Please contact us with any suggestions or questions you might have regarding our programs.
Latest Research Achievements
Sidewinder Gait in Horses
Sidewinder gait in horses is poorly understood and characterized by walking with the trunk and pelvic limbs drifting to one side. UC Davis clinicians conducted a retrospective study of sidewinder gait cases over a 20-year period. Conclusions include: sidewinder gait is usually observed in older horses and can have neurologic or musculoskeletal etiologies; electromyography can be used as a diagnostic aid to determine neurologic versus non‐neurologic disease and further localize those of neurologic origin; the condition often has a poor prognosis for function and life.
Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for Mixed Breed Dogs of Five Weight Categories: Associated Joint Disorders and Cancers
Heavier mixed-breed dogs have higher health risks if neutered or spayed early. The study found mixed-breed dogs weighing more than 44 pounds as adults are at higher risk for one or more joint disorders if neutered before 1 year of age. Dogs weighing up to 43 pounds had no increased risk for joint problems. The study analyzed 15 years of data from thousands of dogs treated at UC Davis.
Subchondral Focal Osteopenia Associated with Proximal Sesamoid Bone Fracture in Thoroughbred Racehorses
A study by the J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory at the UC Davis sought to characterize bone abnormalities that precede proximal sesamoid bone (PSB) fractures and determine if pre-existing abnormalities are associated with these fractures. The group retrospectively studied cases from California Thoroughbred racehorses that died from PSB fractures, and controls that died for other reasons. The most common fatal injury in racehorses in the United States, PSB fractures account for 45-50 percent of such injuries in Thoroughbreds, and 37-40 percent in racing Quarter Horses. The PSBs are two comparatively small bones located in the fetlock that act as part of the suspensory apparatus. Fractures in these bones are likely due to the accumulation of repeated, stress-related processes. This is supported by evidence that racehorses in intensive training are at higher risk for PSB fractures, but the exact causes are not well understood.
Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence
Some dog breeds have higher risk of developing certain cancers and joint disorders if neutered or spayed within their first year of life. Until now, studies had only assessed that risk in a few breeds. A new, 10-year study by researchers at the UC Davis, examined 35 dog breeds and found vulnerability from neutering varies greatly depending on the breed. Researchers analyzed 15 years of data from thousands of dogs examined each year at UC Davis to try to understand whether neutering, the age of neutering, or differences in sex when neutered affect certain cancers and joint disorders across breeds. The joint disorders examined include hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tears and elbow dysplasia. Cancers examined include lymphoma; hemangiosarcoma, or cancer of the blood vessel walls; mast cell tumors; and osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.
Clinical Success Stories
Swift Care Saves Newborn Calves from Deadly Infections
The Schuler Ranch in Yuba City is a small beef cattle operation with about 25 head of shorthorns. The 2020 calving season started out as normal as any calving season of the past, with four healthy calves being born, including a set of twins. When the next group of cows calved, five of their newborns became ill at the same time. It was clear that something devastating could be going through their small herd and could wipe it out quickly. After onsite veterinary services could not save one of the sick calves, they rushed the four others to the Large Animal Clinic at the UC Davis veterinary hospital.
Dog Still Beating the Odds One Year After Terminal Cancer Diagnosis
One year ago, Sunny, a 9-year-old male Labrador retriever/pit bull mix, was lethargic and hadn’t eaten in several days. His owner, David Newsom, took him to his primary veterinarian, and x-rays revealed a large mass in his abdomen. Sunny was referred to the UC Davis veterinary hospital for further evaluation.
Kitten’s Collaborative Care Exemplifies UC Davis’ Campuswide Animal-Centered Spirit
So, what do a local university patron, four veterinary hospital services, a veterinary resident, a newly graduated Animal Science major, and dozens of faculty, staff, and student caregivers have in common? All of these UC Davis entities came together to save the life of a tiny kitten barely big enough to fit in your hand.
New Clinicians
Dr. Ronald Koh – Integrative Medicine Service
Dr. Ronald Koh joined the Integrative Medicine Service, effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Koh received his veterinary degree in Taiwan in 2006 and later completed a specialty internship followed by a master’s program in acupuncture/integrative medicine at the University of Florida. Prior to joining UC Davis, he was an assistant professor at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine since 2013, where he started their Integrative Medicine and Rehabilitation Service and acted as service chief. Dr. Koh is certified in acupuncture, rehabilitation, herbal therapy, and medical manipulation. He completed his residency in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2019. He is currently also working towards certifications in Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) and Veterinary Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT-V). His research and clinical focus have been on integrative and rehabilitative medicine therapies for pain management, neurological disorders, geriatric conditions, and hospice care.
Dr. Katherine Farrell – Emergency/Critical Care Service
Dr. Kate Farrell joined the Emergency/Critical Care Service as an assistant professor, effective August 1, 2020. Dr. Farrell received her B.S. in Biology (2007) from Stanford University and her DVM (2013) from UC Davis. She then completed a rotating internship (2014) in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Colorado State University and another internship (2015) in Small Animal Emergency at UC Davis. Dr. Farrell continued at UC Davis and completed a residency (2018) in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care. She is board certified (2018) by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She previously served as a staff veterinarian (2018-2020) in the Emergency/Critical Care Service and was recently appointed assistant director of the Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine Service. Dr. Farrell’s research interests and expertise are in transfusion and pulmonary medicine.
Dr. Sami Al-Nadaf – Oncology Service
Dr. Sami Al-Nadaf joined the Oncology Service as an assistant professor, effective August 1, 2020. Dr. Al-Nadaf received his B.S. in Biological Sciences (2008) and his DVM (2014) from North Carolina State University. He completed a rotating internship (2015) in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and his residency (2018) in Medical Oncology at UC Davis. He is board certified (2018) by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology). Dr. Al-Nadaf worked in a private specialty practice (2018-2019) and as a staff veterinarian (2019-2020) at UC Davis. His research interests and expertise are in medical oncology.
Dr. Krystle Reagan – Internal Medicine Service
Dr. Krystle Reagan joined the Internal Medicine Service as an assistant professor, effective August 1, 2020. Dr. Reagan received her PhD (2010) in Microbiology and DVM (2014) from Colorado State University. After graduation, she completed a small animal internship (2014-2015) at VCA West Lost Angeles Animal Hospital. Dr. Reagan then completed a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine (2015-2018) and a fellowship in Infectious Disease (2018-2020) at UC Davis. She is board certified (2018) by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (SAIM). Dr. Reagan’s research interests and expertise are in bacterial and fungal infectious diseases of small animals, and in the development and applications of artificial intelligence/machine learning algorithms to diagnosing small animal infectious diseases and endocrine disorders.
Dr. Ehren McLartyDiagnostic Imaging Service
Dr. Ehren McLarty joined the Diagnostic Imaging Service as an assistant professor, effective September 8, 2020. Dr. McLarty received her B.S. in Animal Science (2011) from Andrews University, Michigan and her DVM (2015) from UC Davis. She then completed a rotating small animal internship (2016) at the University of Minnesota and her residency (2020) in diagnostic imaging at UC Davis. Dr. McLarty is board certified (2019) by the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR). Her research interests and expertise are in clinical diagnostic imaging.
Discover the Benefits of Pet Insurance
Are your clients asking about information on pet insurance? As you know, having pet insurance can positively change the life of an animal. While we cannot recommend specific companies or policies, here is some information on the basics of what benefits pet insurance may hold for your clients.
Honor Your Patients and Make a Difference
The Center of Companion Animal Health and the Center for Equine Health are grateful to the veterinary clinics for their donations to the Companion Animal Memorial Fund and the Equine Tribute and Memorial Fund. Participating veterinary clinics and practitioners honor their patients and clients who have recently lost an animal. Each year, hundreds of clinics contribute through memorial gifts for clinical health research to improve treatment for diseases affecting their clients’ animals. If you’d like to learn how to become a participant, call our Office of Advancement at 530-752-7024. Thank you.
Philanthropy At Work
UC Davis Aids Long-Serving K-9 Officer
Wildlife Officer Paul Cardoza, a game warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, refers to his partner, K-9 Kilo, as his most trusted piece of equipment. The pair have been together for 11 years. So, when Kilo, a 13-year-old male German shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix, was having trouble walking and supporting himself on his hind limbs, Cardoza sought out the specialists at the UC Davis veterinary hospital.
Philanthropic Partnership Aids in Cancer Care
Prince, a 9-year-old male standard poodle, was referred to the UC Davis veterinary hospital in 2017 for further evaluation of a lump on his right hind leg. His owner reported it has been there for about a year and had not changed in size.
Third Opinion on Cancer Diagnosis Offers Life Saving Options
In 2015, Izzie, a 6-year-old female yellow Labrador retriever, was a typical active Lab. She loved playing ball, chasing birds, and swimming. When her owners, Morgan and George Birdsong, noticed a tumor growing on her head, they immediately took her to their veterinarian. After diagnosing it as a mast cell tumor, Izzie’s primary veterinarian and a second opinion both offered palliative care as the best option, not giving her very long to live. At this point, Izzie’s tumor had grown to the size of a tennis ball.
Looking To Hire?
Is your clinic looking to hire? Our 4th year students and recent graduates would love to hear from you. We have resources on our Career, Leadership and Wellness Center website to will help you post jobs and connect with us about advancing your clinic. Please discover the website’s job board. The center’s director, Janel Lang, can help you navigate it. Contact her at or 530-752-5130.